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A Thirst for Empire


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Table of Contents

Abbreviations ix Acknowledgments xi Introduction: A Soldiers' Tea Party in Surrey 1 I: Anxious Relations 1 "A China Drink Approved by All Physicians": Setting the Early Modern Tea Table 23 2 The Temperance Tea Party: Making a Sober Consumer Culture in the Nineteenth Century 57 3 A Little Opium, Sweet Words, and Cheap Guns: Planting a Global Industry in Assam 85 4 Packaging China: Advertising Food Safety in a Global Marketplace 120 II: Imperial Tastes 5 Industry and Empire: Manufacturing Imperial Tastes in Victorian Britain 147 6 The Planter Abroad: Building Foreign Markets in the Fin de Siecle 183 7 "Every Kitchen an Empire Kitchen": The Politics of Imperial Consumerism 222 8 "Tea Revives the World": Selling Vitality during the Depression 264 9 "Hot Drinks Mean Much in the Jungle": Tea in the Service of War 305 III: Aftertastes 10 Leftovers: An Imperial Industry at the End of Empire 335 11 "Join the Tea Set": Youth, Modernity, and the Legacies of Empire during the Swinging Sixties 375 Notes 411 List of Illustrations 529 Index 533

About the Author

Erika Rappaport is professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of Shopping for Pleasure: Women in the Making of London's West End (Princeton) and coeditor of Consuming Behaviors: Identities, Politics and Pleasure in Twentieth Century Britain (Bloomsbury).


"Winner of the 2018 Jerry Bentley Prize in World History, American Historical Association"
"Meticulously researched, [A Thirst for Empire] showcases materials from archives scattered across the globe to illustrate how one product's flow across borders was knitting the world together long before the term 'globalization' was coined. . . . Ms. Rappaport's book is one of relevance to us all."---Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Wall Street Journal
"A thoroughly-detailed, scrupulously-researched volume."---Aram Bakshian Jr., Washington Times
""Lively, thoughtful and highly engaging. . . . Elegant and authoritative. Rappaport's command of scholarship and eye for detail are formidable. She is a subtle and scrupulously attentive user of sources. Yet she also knows how to make these academic qualities and requirements serve the broader demands of informative and vibrant storytelling. On almost every page there is an arresting detail, a surprising observation, a fascinating anecdote, a collectible nugget of trivia."---Matthew Adams, The National
A Thirst for Empire
takes a profound view of how people through tea's industry and plantations transformed habits and customs to create our modern consumer society." * The Statesman *
"[Rappaport] provides interesting explorations of the health-giving powers attributed to tea, and how it came to be seen as a wholesome and vital drink."---Katrina Gulliver, The Spectator
"Winner of a 2018 Gourmand World Cookbook Award, U.S. National Winner in "Tea""
"[Rappaport] tells with authority how tea and the culture of tea drinking has influenced the greater history of the British Empire and the British-influenced world beyond. . . . [Her] description of the ways in which tea has been marketed over the years is entirely absorbing."---Simon Winchester, New York Times Book Review
"The result of prodigious research and full of flavoursome detail, A Thirst for Empire will certainly stimulate."---John Keay, Literary Review
"A sweeping and richly detailed history of tea. . . . A Thirst for Empire is an authoritative and exhaustive work of scholarship. . . . A rich trove of paintings, engravings and photographs beautifully illustrate her themes. Rappaport's treatment of her subject is refreshingly apolitical. . . . Rappaport is clearly motivated by truth-telling rather than case-making."---Pietra Rivoli, Financial Times
"Drawing deeply on the historiographies of empire and consumption, [Rappaport] extends these fields with a wealth of primary source material from private, national, and imperial tea marketing ventures. Rappaport masterfully combines gender, commodity, and food studies analysis to reveal the intricate networks and conflicting interests that made tea the lifeblood of the British empire."---Jeffrey M. Pilcher, World History Connected
"Co-Winner of the 2018 ASFS Book Award, Association for the Study of Food and Society"
"This remarkable synthesis of imperial and consumer history concludes that, even after the end of empire, the tea trade survived as a major force in the post-colonial world."---A. W. Purdue, Times Higher Education
"Winner of the 2018 PCCBS Book Prize, Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies"
"For Rappaport, tea provides a framework for examining subjects ranging from the Depression and the World Wars, to advertising and decolonization. Her book is tremendously detailed and clearly the result of painstaking research. . . . The patient reader will find A Thirst for Empire provocative and thought-provoking."---Justin Zaremby, The New Criterion
"Rappaport depicts the history of tea as one of opportunism and economics and, often, exploitation of primary producers."---Alan Attwood, Sydney Morning Herald
"The book moves from the coffeehouses of London to the muggy plantations of Assam to the advertising firms of Madison Avenue, revealing the technologies and marketing techniques that were instrumental in achieving tea's global popularity. Along the way, Rappaport touches on the temperance movement, commodity chains, Americans' famous dislike of tea, and the sociocultural sphere inhabited by the planter class in Southeast Asia, among many other topics. Exhaustively researched and winningly recounted." * Publishers Weekly *

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